Fredericksburg Families

Amy Umble writes about family issues and kid-friendly events.

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Two chances to save on children’s clothes, gear this weekend

kids-clothes Have you heard about this British mom who went a year without spending anything on her toddler–or the new baby who arrived during the time period that she and her husband vowed to abstain from kid-related purchases?

Her story reminds me that I once committed to being a minimalist mom. When I found out I was pregnant with a completely unexpected baby, I felt overwhelmed at the expenses I knew we’d be facing.

But I quickly gave in–with two teenagers and a full-time job, I didn’t feel prepared to commit to cloth diapers. And since I work from home part of the week, that Exersaucer I swore I could do without became almost a necessity. I was determined to skip the swing, something that seemed pricey for a few months of use. And then we had a baby who wouldn’t sleep at all. Until we broke down and got a swing. The jogging stroller also became a lifeline when I needed to go running with my oldest son but also had to bring the baby along. It seemed like every time I turned around, I was justifying a large purchase.

And then there were the adorable little girl clothes, something I missed out on with two boys.

But while I did give in to owning these items, I also learned that they didn’t all require a trip to the store. My mother-in-law scored the Exersaucer off of Freecycle for us. The swing and jogging stroller came from very generous family members and coworkers. And nearly all of Harper’s wardrobe has been handed down from friends or bought second-hand. We’re not minimalists by any stretch, but we have been able to resist a lot of the baby consumerism that seems pretty rampant. From my first obstetrician’s appointment, it seemed like we were the recipients of a strategic plan to convince parents that their children deserve the top-of-the-line everything.

Harper already loves to accessorize, so consignment sales are our friend.

Harper already loves to accessorize, so consignment sales are our friend.

The happiest surprise I’ve found in all of this is second-hand shopping. There weren’t too many options when my boys were babies, but now there are a lot. And it makes so much sense–babies and toddlers wear clothes for only a few months, so they don’t get worn out by the first person to own them. Same with all of those baby items, like swings and Exersaucers, that are used for only a few months at a time. This weekend, two of the biggest consignment sales will be going on, so you’ll have two opportunities to snag bargains on things for your children. Weecycled Wardrobe will be today through Monday at the Fredericksburg Field House and the Anne E. Moncure Elementary PTO’s annual Second Helping Sale will be held tomorrow (3/15), 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Stafford school (75 Moncure Lane).

What are some tips you’ve learned for keeping down the costs of baby and child gear? Share below or email them to and we can create a list for a future blog post.